A few months ago I had written a post on Goal Setting after attending a seminar. The last 6 months I saw this philosophy in action. I have been talking about the bike ride a lot lately, as the experience slowly settles in. True story, if someone told me a year ago that I would accomplish a goal I set out to do 10 years ago, I’d shrug my shoulders and say ehh… maybe. Don’t get me wrong I am all about the challenge, but training for the “ride” made me realize how much the challenge was about me. Call it goal setting; call it a challenge, a “pr”, an “rx”, or whatever makes you tick, the underlying philosophy is consistent: it’s something to strive for. I did a quick Google search for goal setting and this was the first result: Goal Setting can be a very powerful tool for your health. Goal Setting is not something that acts alone to bring you great health but instead is a willing partner for your overall health program. Hmm… that’s interesting. So that takes me to my next question… why? What is it about goal setting and, to take it a step further, goal accomplishing that makes it beneficial to your health?!
It taps into the unconscious mind, the part that is constantly working towards improving your quality of life, whether you know it or not. Goal setting identifies to both your conscious mind and your unconscious mind what it is you wish to achieve. Yup, it’s that simple.
The basic act of setting a clearly defined goal increases your chances of achieving it. Granted I set out a goal to do the ALC ride 10 years ago (not clearly defined) but from day one of training for the ride I set 2 simple goals: 1. show up and 2. Finish. I didn’t ever know what exactly to expect in terms of elevation or whether or terrain but I did know that I had a goal and I was going to do it…and I did. It’s funny how much the sang “where there is a will, there is a way” holds true when a goal is set. Whether its sports related, health, financial, business, or relationship, the philosophy is the same.
So what makes a good goal? According to Dr Edwin Locke, a pioneer on goal setting research. Goals must have the following characteristics.
For the sake of length, you can read more about each of them here. The most interesting part of Locke’s research is that it showed there was a direct relationship between how difficult and specific a goal was and people’s performance of the task. Difficult goals illicit a better response than easy goals. Sound counterintuitive? Well think about the last time you were tasked with something easy, how motivated were you to do it and what was your sense of accomplishment? Hard goals seem to have a higher sense of accomplishment which is why people are more committed to them. Whether you are applying goal setting to yourself or to those you are coaching, we can all benefit from the theory.
So what’s your next goal? Post to comments…
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